Plutocracy's agendas are all coming out of the closet!... Rauner, Romney they are all the same — the Plutocrats want to gag teachers... Romney most anti-union candidates in history of presidential races

The following articles have come out during the days following the end of the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 and provide readers with different views on how the American Plutocracy has now been forced out of the closet in its union busting and teacher bashing agendas. From time to time, Substance will share these insightful stories with readers.

The first below came out from the Nation as "Romney on Teachers and Their Unions: Silence Them!" by John Nichols, September 26, 2012 - 9:59 AM ET and is also available at: Substance editors subscribe to the print edition of the Nation].

Billionaire Bruce Rauner (above left) with one of his most important puppets, Lawrence Msall of the Civic Federation. The lengthy reports issued by Msall's group always call for austerity in Chicago's public education budget and mendaciously support the Board of Education's claims that it is always facing a "deficit" even though year after year the Board's CAFR shows otherwise.Mitt Romney has absolutely no problem with billionaires buying elections. In fact, had it not been for billionaires' buying elections, he would not be the Republican nominee for president.

But Romney has a big, big problem with working people's participating in the political process. Especially teachers.

America's primary proponent of big money in politics now says that he wants to silence K-12 teachers who pool their resources in order to defend public education for kids whose parents might not be wealthy enough to pay the $39,000 a year it costs to send them to the elite Cranbrook Schools attended by young Willard Mitt.

"We simply can't have a setting where the teachers unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table, supposedly to represent the interest of the kids. I think it's a mistake," the Republican nominee for president of 53 percent of the United States said during an appearance Tuesday with NBC's Education Nation. "I think we've got to get the money out of the

teachers unions going into campaigns. It's the wrong way for us to go."

That's rich.

So rich in irony, in fact, that it could be the most hypocritical statement uttered by a candidate who has had no trouble scaling the heights of hypocrisy.

If Romney wanted to get money out of politics altogether

and replace the current crisis with a system where

election campaigns were publicly funded, his comments

might be taken seriously. But that's not the case.

Romney just wants "reforms" that silence individuals and

organizations that do not share his antipathy for public


Romney is troubled that unions such as the American

Federation of Teachers and the National Education

Association voice political opinions. But he is not

troubled by Bain capitalists' pooling their resources in

Super PACs and buying election results.

Indeed, if it had not been for massive spending by the

lavishly funded Romney Super PAC "Restore Our Future" on

Republican primary season attack ads--which poured tens

of millions of dollars into the nasty work of destroying

more popular rivals for the nomination.

When he was facing a withering assault by "Restore Our

Future" in Iowa, Gingrich said Romney would "buy the

election if he could."

Romney could. And he did.

Never in the history of American presidential elections

has so weak and dysfunctional a candidate as Romney been

able to hold his own as a presidential contender solely

because of the money donated by very wealthy individuals

and corporations to the agencies that seek to elect him.

Yet he now attacks teachers who are merely seeking to

assure that--in the face of frequently ridiculous and

consistently ill-informed media coverage, brutal attacks

by so-called "think tanks" and neglect even by

Democratic politicians--the voices of supporters of

public education are heard when voters are considering

the future of public education.

Romney is the most consistently and aggressively

anti-union candidate ever to be nominated for the

presidency by a major American political party. His

disdain for organized labor has been consistently and

aggressively stated. He's an enthusiastic backer of

moves to bust public sector unions, he supports

so-called "right-to-work" laws as a tool states can use

to bust private-sector unions and he wants to do away

with guarantees that workers on construction projects

are fairly compensated and able to negotiate to keep job

sites safe. The Republican platform on which Romney and

Paul Ryan are running goes so far as to call for the

"enactment of a National Right-to-Work law," which would

effectively undo more the seventy-five years of labor

laws in this country.

That's extremism in the defense not of liberty but of

plutocracy. But there are points where Romney goes

beyond extremism.

When it comes to the role of teacher unions, the

Republican nominee's royalist tendencies come to the

fore. Unable to recognize the absolute absurdity of a

nominee who would not be a nominee were it not for the

support he has received from billionaires and

millionaires seeking to prevent kindergarten teachers

from pooling small donations to defend their schools,

his message is the modern-day equivalent of the monarch

of old sneering at the rabble and ordering his minions,

Silence them!

Some Republicans do support unions... when a labor lockout

gets in the way of their football game, that is. Check

out Dave Zirin's take on Scott Walker and the NFL.

Billionaire Bruce Rauner chairing a meeting of the Chicago Education Fund (previously, the Renassance Schools Fund) with all the wealthy white people and touts who make sure the Fund promotes charter schools and bashes the city's real public schools.SUGAR DADDIES CAN'T SAVE MITT. BY FRANK RICH.

Frank Rich on the National Circus: Romney Neutralizes His Own Super-PACs

By Frank Rich

Every week, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich talks with assistant editor Eric Benson about the biggest stories in politics and culture. This week: why the super-PACs have fizzled, Paul Ryan's long game, and Mitt's Hispandering.

We're now in late September, and the summer’s ad barrages have done little to change the polls. Super-PAC money was one of the biggest stories of this election and possibly its determining factor. Was the expected impact of the sugar daddies overhyped? Will their money play a major role in the campaign's final six weeks?

It may turn out that many, including me, were more worried about the post–Citizens United wave of money from the Kochs and Adelsons than we had to be because (a) Romney proved an even weaker candidate than anyone imagined (which is saying something), and (b) he’s so weak that those pulling the strings of the super-PACs (e.g., Karl Rove) may in desperation start shifting money away from the national ticket to salvage troubled GOP Senate candidates.

The most important political story so far this week was on the front page of Monday’s Wall Street Journal: It cites example after example of pro-Romney super-PAC expenditures failing to get the job done. Obama is up nearly ten points in Michigan and eight points in Pennsylvania even though right-wing super-PACS have spent $18 million on TV spots in those two states (more than twice the amount spent by the Obama campaign and a pro-Obama super-PAC combined). In North Carolina, the race is still close despite nearly $34 million in pro-Romney spending there (nearly 50 percent more than Obama forces have spent).

Democratic Senate candidates are ahead in Ohio, Florida, and Virginia despite similarly huge pro-GOP super-PAC outlays in those races. As I wrote in my piece about attack ads, the quality of the ads matters, and Romney’s ever-shifting campaign strategy may have made it impossible for anyone on his side to come up with a devastating “Daisy” ad. And at this late point, the audience may be too desensitized to respond to one in any case. (Just go to a swing state and turn on the television for an hour; the volume is shocking.) Money’s biggest role in the final weeks may be on the ground, not on the air — an advantage for the better-organized Obama.

One key campaign player who many expected to have a bigger role is Paul Ryan. On 60 Minutes Sunday night, Romney shot back at a Scott Pelley question about Ryan’s Medicare plan by snapping, "I’m the guy running for president, not him." Is Mitt having buyer's remorse? And given his disastrous last two weeks, why not unleash Ryan to make his case?
I doubt Mitt regrets picking Ryan; he needed him to nail down his own base, and what was the alternative, Tim Pawlenty? (Who has now moved on to his rightful calling — as a lobbyist.)

But even before the GOP convention ended, prominent voices on the right were wailing that Ryan had been castrated by the Romney campaign. Ryan’s acceptance speech was largely Republican Muzak rather than the Ayn Randian exercise in “big ideas” the faithful was craving. That he remains muzzled would be in keeping with the Romney campaign’s conviction that the tiny sliver of undecided voters would be frightened away by hard-line conservative ideology. A further indignity for Ryan is that his campaign minder is now Dan Senor, the mastermind behind Mitt’s hapless foreign policy tour during the Olympics.

But no one should count Ryan out post-2012. He may look like Eddie Munster, but he’s the GOP’s Sammy Glick, ambitious as hell. It may fit his own career plans to be seen and heard as little as possible in a Romney defeat. As a Republican political operative in Iowa told the Times last week, “If Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him.” Looks like Ryan is already lathering up!

Mitt still can’t escape the subject of taxes. Everyone seems a little perplexed as to why his promised release of his 2011 tax returns was accompanied by a notarized summary of his 1990-2009 returns. The former Romney strategist Alex Castellanos said he "thought this was an April Fool's joke." Why did Mitt do this now? 
Apparently he thought he was being clever dumping this stuff on the press on a Friday afternoon, the traditional time for burying bad news. He seems to have forgotten, however, that this particular Friday came at the end of a week when the country was focused on the Boca video in which he insulted the 47 percent of the population that (in his formulation) doesn’t pay taxes. Who can explain why this campaign does anything the way it does? In any case, the so-called summaries of Romney’s tax returns raise more questions than they answer — a good six weeks’ worth, I’d say.

Obama and Romney conducted two "shadow debates" last week. They both appeared on 60 Minutes, and both visited a Univision forum in Miami. We've been saturated by this campaign for months. Can either candidate say or do anything at this point to change the minds of voters? And did you see any evidence of that in either set of appearances?
Answer to both questions: not much. The first “real” debate — next Wednesday — may well be Romney’s last chance to move any minds.

What we learned about Mitt on 60 Minutes is that, incredibly, he still thinks he can get away with avoiding all specifics, not just just about his own tax returns but also about his most fundamental policy bullet points: what tax deductions and exemptions he’d eliminate; what federal departments and programs he’d cut to offset the red ink implicit in his promised tax cuts; and any fine print of his ideas for immigration and Social Security reform. If he really thinks he can get away with this Wednesday night, he’s delusional. What we mainly learned about Obama is that he looks exhausted and had better rest up.

But in one answer to Steve Kroft, the president did suggest he’s ready to stop Romney from skating away from the specifics of his saber-rattling foreign policy: “If Governor Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so.” If this line of Obama attack is not focus-group tested, I’d be very surprised. Perhaps the Obama camp is hoping to spring its own “Daisy” ad.

The Romney Univision appearance sprouted two unflattering stories: that he was wearing really bad orange makeup and that his campaign packed the audience with supporters. Both made him seem almost comically desperate. Any thoughts?
Romney can dye his skin brown in reverse emulation of Michael Jackson and he still is going to lose the Hispanic vote by a margin so huge that it’s hard to see how he can make up the losses elsewhere. What I don’t understand is why his campaign doesn’t bus in a Latino claque to every campaign appearance, not just the Univision forum. With the exception of that appearance and this week’s speech before the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, every Mitt audience registers as all-white on the evening news. Hiring Latino extras for every Romney rally — and, while they’re at it, African-American and Asian-American extras, too — might be campaign money well spent.


It's time we say 'enough' (Chicago Tribune, September 12, 2012 By Bruce Rauner)

Many of us have been touched by the magic of a great teacher. I know I have.

However, we must not allow this nostalgia to give us a romanticized view of what is actually happening every day in Chicago public schools. While there are many excellent CPS teachers, the reality is a tragedy of epic proportions. Hundreds of thousands of children are being doomed to an unacceptably poor education and the diminished lives that come with it.

The Chicago Teachers Union strike provides us all with a clear opportunity to examine the grossly inadequate performances of many public school teachers and highlight and reward the great performances of other teachers.

I have sat in a CPS math class and watched division being taught incorrectly. I have seen the standardized test scores of CPS teachers that indicate many of them aren't even capable of scoring 21 on the ACT, the absolute minimum score needed to be ready for college. How can we believe that these teachers can prepare our children for success? I helped review the calculations that prove CPS and CTU representatives and Illinois State Board of Education executives dummied down the Illinois Standards Achievement Test to make it appear that CPS schools were improving when they were not. I have seen data that show average CPS fourth graders are two to three grades behind national norms, and those in the 8th grade are four to five years behind. I have watched as hundreds of thousands of CPS students have graduated from high school completely unprepared for college or careers.

It is time we say "enough."

Let's recognize the CTU strike for what it is. Plain and simple, it is about the union's drive to protect Chicago's incompetent teachers at the expense of students and good teachers. We must not be fooled by the rhetoric that teachers are striking in the interest of students. Baloney. This strike is about protecting political power.

Bob Chanin, general counsel of the National Education Association, made it clear at a recent NEA convention when he declared that teachers unions are focused on protecting their massive power "... not because of the merits of our positions, not because we care about children, and not because we have a vision for a great public school for every child. The NEA and its affiliates … have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues every year."

A shocking statement, but also stunningly revealing.

To improve the schools, we must stand firm against this amassed power. To transform the quality of Chicago's public schools, we must do five things:

1) Expand Teach for America in Chicago, where we are able to recruit the nation's best and brightest to the teaching profession here.

2) Increase the number of campuses run by charter school organizations that have proven their ability to provide children a great education: Noble, Chicago International Charter School, UNO, KIPP and Learn Charter Schools.

3) Recruit the best, proven, most innovative charter and school management organizations from around the country to come to Chicago and open campuses here.

4) Install a rigorous new school accountability system of consistent, frequent, objective testing in every grade so parents can effectively compare schools and judge which ones are preparing students for long-term success.

5) Enable parents to select among the best schools by changing the way CPS financial resources are spent, not parsing it to schools directly but instead allocating funds directly to students so their parents can use that money to choose the right school for their child. By breaking up the CPS monopoly, we can dramatically improve our schools and provide a quality education for every child in Chicago.

The CTU strike is a tragedy for the children, parents and taxpayers of Chicago. But from tragedy can sometimes come clarity and renewed purpose. For those of us who have fought this fight in the education reform movement, the issue of performance versus power politics has never been clearer.

It's time for us to rise up and say "enough."

[Bruce Rauner is a member of the board of the Chicago Public Education Fund and chairman of the education committee of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.]


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